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Reid Says Bailout Timing Helpful

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday afternoon that in deciding to bring the revamped bailout bill for a vote tonight, he did not intend to pressure the House.

Reid said the renewable-energy tax extenders as well as the alternative minimum tax relief that he attached to the $700 billion economic bailout measure was a good procedural move for the Senate and the nation.

“I’m very satisfied with what we’re doing here. It’s the right thing. And, I’m confident we’ll get a good strong bipartisan vote here in the Senate,” Reid said. “All I’m trying to do is get this thing passed. I’m not trying to jam anyone.”

The package could make the vote more difficult in the House, which rejected the package Monday. Several conservative Democrats, who backed the bailout, oppose the tax measures because they are not offset.

The Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation last week that contained the energy and AMT tax items, but the House returned the bill with only the renewable-energy provision. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) appeared dissatisfied with Reid’s move to include the tax extenders.

Reid also said he would keep the Senate in session until the House has a chance to revisit the bailout bill. Reid plans to keep the chamber in a pro forma session so committees with authority over the markets will be able to convene.

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